Developer: Nexus6 Software Pty Ltd
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Vocabulator is an apt name for Nexus6 Software’s newest word puzzle app that features clean simple presentation similar in appearance to a calculator, varying degrees of difficulty, and a wealth of word information. Before you moan and groan about another word game for iPhone, check out what makes this user-friendly take on the classic target anagram puzzle smarter than the average bear, I mean game.
Like many of the popular anagram games found in newspapers and magazines, Vocabulator presents a group of letters derived from a single base word. Your challenge is to see how many acceptable “sub-words” you can make with the letters provided.
This pastime, which is a favorite of wordsmiths, can be enjoyed by nearly anyone, including kids when presented the Vocabulator way. The simplicity (or complexity) is up to you, made possible by the comprehensive settings options. Beyond these options, which helps Vocabulator reach a broader audience, the ability to quickly look up unfamiliar words in the in-game dictionary seals the deal.
While the concept of anagram games is certainly nothing new, Vocabulator takes all the necessary components of a good word puzzle and presents them in one of the more user-friendly fashions that I’ve come across. You can set the game to accept three or four-letter minimums as well as determine the number of letters in the base word – from six to 11. The game supplies you with the target number of words you need to complete the puzzle, as well as tracks the number of words you’ve already made and keeps a tidy, alphabetical list of the words as you go.
If you prefer a quick, easy game, simply set the letter minimum to three and choose a base word of six letters. For a real challenge, select four letter minimum words with an 11 letter base word. You can also choose between Novice and Expert, the latter of which requires you to use a target letter in every word you form. Vocabulator will also track your score and tell you how many words you found per minute played. If you get stuck, shake your device and the letter tiles will rearrange to give you a new perspective. You can choose to quit the game at any stage and Vocabulator will supply you with the words you missed. And don’t forget to check the in-game dictionary for the definitions of unfamiliar words.
As a fan of word puzzles, I find Vocabulator to be well designed and neatly packaged. Especially noteworthy, is the broad range of base words, which eliminates frequent puzzle repeats. With the ability to control the number of letters played with, it’s a great educational tool for kids, too. Whether you just want to play with words, build your vocabulary skills, or train for your next Scrabble tournament, Vocabulator has appeal for anyone. And, with hints from the developer at future updates enabling phone-to-phone multi-play, Vocabulator is most promising indeed.